Colonial Athletic Association
Favorite(s)- Northeastern 19-11 14-4
The Huskies have clinched the top seed and regular season CAA title. Not thought of as one of the favorites when the season began, but balanced scoring and a consistent defense, not losing a league game when they surrendered 70 points or less, have them poised for a long awaited return to the Big Dance.
Contender(s)- Delaware 18-13 13-5, George Mason 17-13 10-8
The Blue Hens, originally thought to be a favorite in the league struggled to a 3-8 start, but have gone 15-5 since. Delaware relies heavily on underclassmen with forwards Jamelle Hagins and Josh Brinkley the only seniors averaging double digit minutes. Since the horrid start Delaware has turned it around with 3 of their 5 losses by a combined 8 points, they could be putting it all together at just the right time.
If there is a team in the CAA that understands March the best, it has to be George Mason. The 4th seeded Patriots have just one player scoring double digits, junior Sherrod Wright (16.5) but they rely heavily on the leadership of Wright and the rest of that junior class which accounts for 38 points and 16 rebounds a game.
Team Likely to pull an upset- Drexel 13-17 9-9
The pre-season favorite struggled mightily this season with an overall record well below .500 and finishing near the back of the pack in the CAA. One thing to keep in mind about the Dragons is that while they struggled, their average league loss was by just five points, including 2 overtime games. There is a reason they were a pre-season favorite, and with all the close games they’ve played chances are good they might pull one out.
3 Key Players- Joel Smith-Northeastern, Devon Saddler-Delaware, Rayshawn Goins-James Madison
The senior guard from Texas has led Northeastern to a regular season CAA title and is looking for more. His 16.5 points lead the team, but with Smith it is not about how many points he scores but how he scores them. He can do it from beyond the arc, shooting and making the most 3s on the team, a 42% shooter. If he needs to drive to the basket he will, he also has gone to the line the 2nd most of anyone on the team but he shoots a team best 87%.
Devon Saddler does a little bit of everything for Delaware. The junior guard leads the team in scoring at 20.2 a game but he is also 2nd on the team in assists (2.8) and steals (1.0) and 3rd in rebounding at 4.5. If the Blue Hens are to continue their season turnaround, Saddler will have to lead the way.
The 6-6 senior forward Rayshawn Goins is the guy the offense runs through for James Madison. He leads the Dukes in scoring (12.9) and rebounding (7.4), but he has also taken the most shots and free throws. Where Goins really excels is on the offensive boards where he has grabbed 65 second-chance opportunities for the Dukes.
2013 COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION TOURNAMENT
March 9-11 Richmond, VA
#4 George Mason vs. #5 Drexel
#2 Delaware vs. #7 Hofstra
#3 James Madison vs. #6 William&Mary
#1 Northeastern vs. #4/#5